Zach Wilson is back in the starting lineup.
Nearly a month after his benching, the former No. 2 overall pick will start for the Jets this Sunday against the Lions. Mike White, who had started the last three games in place of Wilson, was not cleared to play after sustaining a rib injury in last Sunday’s loss to Buffalo.
Wilson will now have a daunting task on his hands. After being inactive for three straight games, sitting on the sideline in street clothes, the kid must now lead an offense that needs to keep up with a high-powered Lions offense. Detroit has won five of six, averaging 354.8 yards and 29.3 points per game in this span.
The Jets will need to put points on the board if they’re going to snap a two-game losing streak — it’ll start with Wilson. How he responds and performs should reveal if his benching either helped or hindered his development.
But it’s an opportunity that could be tremendous for Wilson just as much as it could be disastrous.
What if Wilson impresses? Then he is the Jets’ starting quarterback moving forward. If Wilson can show that taking a step back was beneficial to his development, then he will be relied on in the midst of this AFC Playoff race.
A great performance and win over the Lions, arguably the hottest team in football right now, would additionally do wonders for Wilson’s confidence. It would help him officially put the horrendous 9-for-22 performance against the Patriots in Week 11 (which led to his benching) in the rearview.
What if he struggles? Then he’s done. Seriously. If Wilson is still that mistake-making, turnover-prone quarterback that’s holding the offense back, he will head back to the bench. White, if healthy for Week 16, would then return to the starting lineup, potentially for the rest of the season.
So a great performance would make Wilson the starter in the heat of a playoff race. And a poor performance could end his season as the starter, and possibly his Jets tenure.
No pressure, Zach.